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Maryland not lifting mask orders "any time soon"

Despite declines in new COVID cases and increasing rates of vaccination, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is warning the citizens of his state that life won’t be returning to normal any time soon. During a press conference on Tuesday, a reporter asked how long people should expect the face mask mandates to remain in place. Hogan didn’t even bother giving an estimate of a date when the orders might be rescinded. He repeated the positive news about fewer new cases and hospitalizations but said that the orders would remain in place for the foreseeable future. That loud, groaning sound you’re hearing is coming from several million residents of the state who have already had just about enough of this. (CBS Baltimore)

As more Marylanders get vaccinated, there is the question of long everyone will have to keep wearing masks.

When asked during a press conference Tuesday about lifting any restrictions, Gov. Larry Hogan said he doesn’t see Maryland lifting any masking orders anytime soon.

He said while they have 100% of businesses open, some of these orders will not be changing due to some worry on the variances now present in the state.

As if to underscore his point, rather than proposing an end date to the mask mandates, Hogan turned around and issued yet another one after the press conference. With schools hopefully reopening, he ordered that all children age 5 or older will be required to wear a mask at all times while on school property or riding on school buses.

Trying to convince a five-year-old to keep a face mask on all of the time is a considerable challenge, but that’s not really the point here. Governors and mayors are already getting an earful from adults who are fed up with these mask mandates. As has been frequently discussed, children are among the hardest hit by lockdowns and totally abnormal rules of interaction. Isolation, loneliness and fear of some unseen danger lead to stress, along with mental and emotional issues. Adults aren’t immune to these problems either.

People have been willing to go along with these rules for quite a while now in the name of slowing the spread of the pandemic, but there are limits to how much people will tolerate. It seems fairly obvious by this point that we’re quickly reaching those limits. We are not going to become a society where mandatory facemasks are a permanent feature of life. It’s simply not going to happen. Once we have a majority of the country vaccinated, this has to come to an end. We will get COVID under control to the point where it’s not much different than the seasonal flu. We never had to put up with this during flu season and we’re not going to tolerate it for this disease either.

If governors continue to drag their feet, the voters have other options. The state legislatures can remove their executive powers over the pandemic response just as New York is currently considering doing with Andrew Cuomo. And if they can’t bring themselves to do that, they can be replaced at the next election by candidates who promise to do so. But it’s important for all of us to keep reminding these politicians of the same thing that I’ve been saying here for months now.

This is not normal. This is never going to be normal. And the government can not be allowed to force it to be permanent or normal.